pa·nache | \ pə-ˈnash , -ˈnäsh \

Definition of panache 

1 : an ornamental tuft (as of feathers) especially on a helmet The palace guard had a panache on his helmet.

2 : dash or flamboyance in style and action : verve flashed his … smile and waved with the panache of a big-city mayor —Joe Morgenstern

Illustration of panache

Illustration of panache

panache 1

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

Few can match the panache of French poet and soldier Cyrano de Bergerac. In his dying moments, he declared that the one thing left to him was his panache, and that assertion at once demonstrates the meaning of the word and draws upon its history. Panache derives via Middle French from Late Latin pinnaculum, meaning "small wing" or "gable," a root that also gave English the word pinnacle. In both French and English, panache originally referred to a showy, feathery plume on a hat or helmet; its "dashing" figurative sense developed from the verve and swagger of one bold enough to wear such an adornment in public. When the dying Cyrano turned his huge nose heavenward and spoke of his panache, his nose became the literal and figurative pinnacle of a multifaceted pun.

Examples of panache in a Sentence

She played the role of hostess with great panache.

Recent Examples on the Web

For its second annual Maison St-Germain fete, the luxury liqueur brand tapped stylist Kate Young to bring a bit of Parisian panache to Little Beach House Malibu on Tuesday night. Ericka Franklin | Wwd,, "Dakota Johnson, Nina Dobrev party with Kate Young, Maison St-Germain guests in Malibu," 11 July 2018 There are mysterious powers that determine that Michael and Jennifer and Jacob and Emily will never lose their panache, while Ethel and Edith and Edmund and Guy will seemingly never regain theirs. Donna Vickroy, Daily Southtown, "Destined to be dowdy forever? The difficulty of being named 'Donna' in 2018," 7 July 2018 Yes, the building will be a majestic hub that will bring employees and panache to Corktown. Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press, "Fords step up to transform Detroit again. Now just one more thing: I want a train," 19 June 2018 Porter plays Pray Tell, the guy who MCs the ballroom events with great panache and scathing and extreme wit. Matthew Gilbert,, "Billy Porter is the vibrant heart and dazzling soul of ‘Pose’," 27 June 2018 Such writerly panache is the true saving grace of Mr Orange’s chronicle. The Economist, "Tommy Orange’s debut novel is a work of defiance and recovery," 5 July 2018 Even the mail room has panache, with brass fixtures and patterned wallpaper. John King,, "Well-crafted Jackson Square condos rich in design inspiration," 2 July 2018 Sorry to Bother You’s deliberate lack of panache is sometimes a huge strength, particularly in its most chilling set piece, in which Cash is asked to rap in front of Steve and his coterie of rich hangers-on. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Sorry to Bother You Is Fizzy, Flawed, and Fascinating," 6 July 2018 About 30 other billionaires maintain homes nearby, most assessed at higher values, but none enjoy the panache and celebrity status of Mar-a-Lago. Si Liberman, USA TODAY, "Mar-a-Lago: An insider's view of Trump's Florida estate," 7 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'panache.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of panache

1553, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for panache

Middle French pennache, from Old Italian pennacchio, from Late Latin pinnaculum small wing — more at pinnacle

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about panache

Listen to Our Podcast about panache

Dictionary Entries near panache








Statistics for panache

Last Updated

20 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for panache

The first known use of panache was in 1553

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for panache



English Language Learners Definition of panache

: lots of energy and style

More from Merriam-Webster on panache

See words that rhyme with panache

Comments on panache

What made you want to look up panache? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the setting in which something occurs

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!